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Many professional HVLP guns require around 9-15 cfm. But Don't worry, many Serious Hobbyists and woodworkers have small compressors. 5-6 CFM seems to be common among do it yourselfers and 7-8CFM amoung serious hobbyists.

Ideally, many professional guns are rated to run on a 20-30 gallon/5-6HP compressor which run around $260 at Sears. But we offer selections for those with smaller compressors. i.e. 1HP or 2HP Compressors or compressors rated below 6cfm@40psi.

How BIG a compressor do you need?

Most air tool manufacturers will tell you how much air each tool needs and at what pressure it needs it. The air is expressed in units called "SCFM" or "CFM", or "ASCFM" (Cubic Feet per Minute). Look at the compressor's specifications. Compressors generally give you 2 numbers the "Displacement CFM" which is the the raw pump power and something called "free air @ some psi" or "delivered air" or "SCFM @ psi" which is the number we are interested in. This number should look like this: "7.6 CFM @ 40 PSI". Newer Paint guns generally operate at very low pressures but require a high volume of air at lower pressure ("HVLP" means "High Volume, Low Pressure"). So if you're painting, check the compressor's actual air output ("free air" or "delivered air") @ 40 PSI.

*If you only have a rating @90 psi no problem you should be able to add between 1 & 2 cfm as you drop down to 40psi depending on how good your motor is. Generally name brands have better motors, but this is not always the case.

Does this mean I have to have a huge compressor to run a professional gun?

No Way!

This only means that you can not run your gun continuously nonstop. In the real world, most guns rated at 7-10 CFM can be operated satisfactorily on a 2-5HP single stage compressor rated at 6.8 @ 40. Guns rated at 9-12CFM can be operated with satisfaction on a 5-6HP single stage compressor rated at 8.6 @ 40. Compressors rated below 6@40, we have a special selection of professional low air guns and mini guns which operate on as little as 3CFM@40.

"8.6 @ 40 and a 20 gallon tank? Unless I were doing production work I don't feel you need an upgrade. You can spray an AstroPneumatic Gun for example, rated at 10cfm@40psi and it works just fine to spray four interior six panel doors one right after the other. By the time the compressor needs to catch up I need to give my arm a brake anyway. Or I need to refill the cup. Once you use a professional gun like the Astro Pneumatic, I'm sure you will like it as much as everyone else."

A small compressor? Are there any options for me?

Yes Way!

Certainly! Compressors are simply tanks with motors which compress the air. You can add another spare tank that can be connected and disconnected when necessary. You can chain compressors together with a simple Y or T fitting. Compressors are sold for as little as $38.00 for 4cfm@40 at your local hobby stores, and you can add a compressor to your existing getup. By the way, this is a way to avoid a 220V outlet. You can run an extension cord from another socket connected to a separate fuse and chain units.

Why not a spray gun with a lower CFM rating to match my compressor? I see many such guns at my local home improvement store.

Simple, it's the air that breaks up the paint. Professionals use about 10-15CFM to break up paint in order to get the highest atomization. At SprayGunWorld, we focus on professional guns used by particular professionals and serious hobbyists like yourself. Analogy: Low CFM guns act like cars with 4 cylinders. At SprayGunWorld, we focus on 8 cylinder professional cars (models). Low CFM Guns require superb engineering and precise manufacturing to compensate for a lack of power in a "4 cylinder car". Which generally means you are paying more for less performance and more orange peel, etc. Yes, you figured it out. the inexpensive low CFM guns at your local store not only don't have the power of an 8cylinder model, but they also don't have the precision engineering that is required to compensate for the lack of power. Most people call us after throwing away their porter cable or ingersoll rang spray gun. We only focus on guns a professional would use. 8cylinders so to speak.

So out of luck with a small compressor? No, while we encourage you to get the largest compressor you can afford or fit. We also searched far and wide for the finest low CFM guns on market. We have created low CFM gun sections for those who have small compressors but want a no compromise finish. We have looked for high quality, mostly USA made options. Our offerings are limited to what we consider the finest low air guns on the market with - all with precision manufacturing. In a way, you could consider them 6 cylinder cars.

What if I don't have a compressor what should I purchase.
We recommend purchasing the most CFM you can afford. Realistically, a great professional starting point would be the 7-8cfm models found at your local DIY centers. A unit we like here is the 5-6HP compressor 8.6 CFM @ 40PSI craftmen around $260 at Sears. You can also look at similar units at places like Home Depot of 7.2 CFM@40PSI and the like.

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How big is your compressor?

See our CFM page for more information


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